Bits & Bytes online Edition




DataShare via WebDAV

Thomas Zastrow

The MPCDF DataShare service for data sharing and synchronization can be used in several ways. The easiest way is the web interface (https://datashare.mpcdf.mpg.de), which can be used to upload/download files, create folders etc. Another way is via the desktop clients, which provide a permanent data synchronization between the DataShare server and the personal desktop.

If the combination of a web interface and a desktop client is not sufficient, or possible, a third alternative exists in the form of WebDAV. Through the WebDAV protocol, any DataShare account can be mounted as a network drive into your local machine. On most operating systems, this works without installing additional software.

At first, you have to login to the DataShare web interface. In the bottom left corner of the screen, you can see a link to 'Settings'. Opening the Settings, you can copy the shown WebDAV link to your clipboard (https://datashare.rzg.mpg.de/remote.php/webdav/).

Fig. 1: WebDAV Settings in DataShare

Connecting a Windows 7 machine

Open the Windows Explorer and right click on 'Network'. Choose 'Netzlaufwerk verbinden'. After entering your personal credentials in the following window, your DataShare account is mounted as a netdrive and you can find it in the Explorer under 'Computer'.

Apple Mac

In the Mac's Finder, go to 'Go / Connect to server'. In the popup window, enter the DataShare URL:

In the next dialog, enter your credentials and click 'Connect as registered user'.

Linux

Under Linux, there are two ways of accessing a WebDAV share. First, most modern file managers like Dolphin under KDE or Files under Gnome offer the possibility to connect a WebDAV-based network share. Second, a WebDAV share can be mounted on the command line via the 'davfs2' package:

1. Depending on your distribution, install the 'dav2fs' package. For instance, on Ubuntu or other Debian derivates:

    apt-get install davfs2
    

2. Now the 'root' user can mount your DataShare account – choose an existing mountpoint as last parameter, the command will ask you for your DataShare credentials:

    sudo mount -t davfs https://datashare.rzg.mpg.de/remote.php/webdav/ /media/datashare/
    

3. It is also possible to add the DataShare account via /etc/fstab. After adding a line:

    https://datashare.rzg.mpg.de/remote.php/webdav/ /media/datashare davfs user,rw,noauto 0 0
    

the root user can mount the WebDAV share into the given mountpoint:

    sudo mount /media/datashare
    

Remarks

The WebDAV protocol was never meant to transport large amounts of data. Additionally, the handling of a large number of (small) files can be difficult with WebDAV. In these cases, the MPCDF offers some other solutions for data transport (cf. Bits&Bytes article on 'data transfer methods' in this issue).